Click Here to become a subscriber.
NOTE: Overall Future Potential (OFP), is not a prediction of where the player will land when all is said and done. It’s his future potential if the current profile gets through development stages and into the big leagues. Profiles can change as players gain experience, add pitches, change their swings, change positions, and alter their physical makeup. There is some profile projection, however, in the final OFP, using standard projection tactics based on a player’s frame, raw athleticism, and raw physical tools. Players can rank above others with higher OFPs if the risk factor makes up the difference.
Many in the industry use ‘Future Value,’ or ‘FV’ rather than OFP, but those generally represent the current most likely result in the player, based on that particular analysts process and formula, and for me that’s just too subjective to provide real value to the fan. A player’s OFP tends to be closer to consensus without actually being so, suggesting it’s a more useful piece of information in the moment.
20. Starlin Aguilar, 3B | L/R | 1.26.04 | 5-11 / 190
Aguilar enters 2022 after 220 plate appearances in the DSL last summer that may have generated more questions that it confirmed his original scouting report. There was more swing-and-miss, fewer line drives, more ground balls and, as expected, some less-than-ideal footwork and range at third base.
But Aguilar also displayed advanced plate discipline and strike zone judgment, and the swing remains short and powerful, sustaining above-average power grades, and his arm and general athleticism remain solid enough to suggest a chance he sticks at third long-term, or at least profiles in left field.
The swing plane needs maturation, but that isn’t unique for players of his age and experience, and there’s plenty of belief in his ability to make hard contact.
It’s not a classic hot corner profile due to the defensive questions and especially the power upside, but those that like Aguilar see a chance the power plays up into the 25-homer range as the hit tool takes hold over time.
19. Michael Morales, RHP | 8.13.02 | 6-2/ 205
Seattle saw Morales up to 94 mph with a sharper breaking ball and believe his mature physical makeup will allow him safely increase velocity early in his pro career. But it’s his polish that’s so intriguing, despite a lack of ideal projection from a prep arm. He throws strikes with an efficient delivery and compliments the fastball with average and growing command, a curveball that’s flashed above average and a consistent changeup with some fade. As prep pitchers go, Morales has a chance to move relatively quickly.
18. Michael Arroyo, 2B/3B | R/R | 11.03.04 | 5-10 / 185
The general consensus is Arroyo has a chance at a average or better hit tool, 40 doubles, and a career playing third base. The doubters wonder whether the power fits and prefer to see whether or not he can stick at second base. The optimists, of which there are few but include former scout Jeremy Booth who runs the Future Stars program, see more hit there than everyone else and no reason either infield spot can’t work.
Personally, as one who hasn’t seen Arroyo live, I believe in the idea of second base until it’s clear it won’t fit, because the chances he’s a 70 hit, 55 power bat aren’t great — those being extremely rare, and all, ya know? Physically it all makes sense, however, and there’s a lot to like about the approach and swing.
17. Milkar Perez, 3B | R/R | 10.16.01 | 5-11 / 185
Perez, a former switch hitter, is all right-handed now and owns the best strike zone judgement in the system, a skill that goes a long way in projecting a prospect’s ability to hit. At this stage of his development, he’s drawing a lot of walks and making enough contact to hit for average in the lower minors. There’s chance his 18% K rate actually improves as he matures at the plate and puts that batting eye to better use.
The Mariners are hoping his big-league bat speed eventually takes over and produces above-average pop, because he’s unlikely to ever be more than fringe-average defensively, whether it’s as a 40-45 third baseman or an average first baseman, and Perez projects as a 40-grade runner once he’s done filling out his frame. But it’s a possible plus hit tool with a lot more evidence of it playing in pro ball than lies with Arroyo. It’s my opinion Perez ends up in the outfield where his huge arm plays and his ordinary agility may not hurt him as much as it might at third.
16. Lazaro Montes, OF/1B | L/R | 10.22.04 | 6-4 / 215
Montes is a pretty simple scout. He’s a tall left-handed batter who creates plus power with natural leverage and well above-average bat speed. Hes good athlete, not a great one, and there are concerns he ends up a 240-pound player who lands at first base defensively. At present, he displays more than adequate skills in tracking fly balls with average jumps and routes and a good arm.
What I haven’t heard a single evaluator say about Montes, however, is a legit shot at 70-grade power, and if that remains the case we’re talking about 30 homers, not 40 plus, putting a little more pressure on the hit tool and his ultimate defensive value.
15. Edwin Arroyo, SS | S/S | 8.25.03 | 6-0 / 180
The projections for Arroyo are splattered from corner to corner. He’s a good athlete with average speed that should remain as he adds a bit of muscle to his 6-foot, 180-pound frame.
He’s a switch hitter with a better shot from the right side, and there’s a bit of power projection on which to dream, too, with his left-handed swing a bit more conducive to creating loft. But there’s work to do to unlock it all.
At present, there’s too much swing and miss, but he’ll be just 18 for all but a week of the 2022 MiLB season, and the chance to stick as a 55-grade shortstop with a .260/.340/.420 slash is quite a piece to the puzzle, and there are those that see even more pop than that in his swing, especially if he’s allowed to continue switch hitting.
14. Zach DeLoach, LF | L/R | 8.18.98 | 6-1 / 205
DeLoach torched High-A (.313/.400/.530, 148 wRC+), but struggled in Double-A in 216 PAs (.227/.338/.384) with an increase in strikeout rate and decrease in hard contact.
He must hit for average and get on base to have a shot to play everyday, since the raw power is likely to land in the 12-18 homer range, and defensively he’s more of a left fielder with a shot to slide over into center some.
Some scouts don’t love the swing and see a bat that gets stuck between patience and hunting strikes, but I think it’s a lot simpler than that. DeLoach has to make more contact in general, and the harder that contact the better chance he has to make his agent some money by at least getting into arbitration.
13. Alberto Rodriguez, LF | L/L | 10.6.00 | 5-11 / 190
Rodriguez, on the surface, appears to be similar to DeLoach, minus the above-average speed and athleticism, but the left-handed swing of Rodriguez packs more punch, and he’s but a level behind and still two years DeLoach’s junior.
He’s not the defender DeLoach is, so it’s all about producing at the plate, but there are plenty of reasons for hope. Rodriguez consistently finds the barrel, shelling out line drives in abundance, and there’s above-average power developing, too.
I may be higher on him than some, but I see a one of the best bets to hit for average and get on base in the entire organization, and while I think it takes a little time to get there, we could be looking at a .280/.360/.470 hitter.
12. Gabriel Gonzalez, LF | R/R | 1.4.04 | 5-10 / 175
If Gonzalez had a real chance to play an average centerfield long-term, he’d be a Top 7 prospect. He’s a better athlete and defender than Rodriguez, however, with similar data to back up the belief in the bat.
My question is about the power. He’s 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, and projects to bring average to perhaps above-average power to the majors in 3-5 years. Is .270/.340/.440 enough to warrant an everyday role? In some scenarios, sure, but it’s not optimal.
So is it more power or more hit? It’s tough to buy more than 15-18 homer power, but I can see the kind of hard contact rates he produced in the DSL in 2021 resulting in a .280/.350 hitter to pair with legitimate left-field defense and average speed.
11. Connor Phillips, RHP | R/R | 5.4.01 | 6-2 / 195
Phillips is an upside play, but I buy the floor of a solid-average setup-type reliever more than most.
Phillips is a good athlete with leg drive and arm speed generating velocity up to 98 mph with arm side run and hop. When he commands it he garners swings and misses and gets to his above-average breaking balls, including a slider (80-84 mph) and a power curveball (77-80).
The changeup remains a well below-average offering at 84-86 mph, but as he gains consistency in his release and arm slot he’ll get better results.
There’s a ways to go with the mechanics, but the stuff is above average with room for more, and with but fringe-average command and a useful changeup Phillips is a mid-rotation starter.
Jason A. Churchill
Latest posts by Jason A. Churchill (see all)
- 5 key prospects for the Mariners system to return to the top - October 2, 2022
- CHURCHILL: Mariners Prospects of the Year led by recent draft picks - September 19, 2022
- CHURCHILL: Quick thoughts on the Mariners’ AFL roster - September 16, 2022
- Churchill: Mariners’ Post-Deadline Top 25 Prospects - August 5, 2022